Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Is trademark and copyright law worthless in the social media age?

The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) was signed into law in 1998 to protect the intellectual property rights of content creators while also providing a safe harbor for internet service providers and websites who act in good faith to remove infringing content once they become aware of the matter. The Lanham Act was enacted in 1946 and has been amended several times. In 1999, the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act amended the Lanham Act to address domain name trademark issues.

Does the DMCA or the Lanham Act still work in the Social Media Age? On June 16, 2010, I blogged that intellectual property protection is useless in the social media age. Since that post, very little has been done to better protect content creators from the illegal use of their intellectual property without their permission or compensation. Congress has not been able to draft compromise intellectual property legislation that better protects digital intellectual property rights while also creating a fair and equitable system to protect innocent internet service providers and websites from liability.

According to a recent San Francisco Chronicle article, Facebook appears to be a haven for the sale of counterfeit goods. Ironically, the article mentions that Facebook has been notified about this issue but it appears they will not do anything about it unless the trademark holder personally contacts them. Does this response demonstrate that Facebook has a huge problem with ads for counterfeit goods on its platform? Under Viacom v. YouTube's latest appellate court ruling, will Facebook soon have significant legal liability issues to address?

The bottom line is that that it takes time for the law to catch up with technology.

To learn more about these issues you may contact me at http://shearlaw.com/attorney_profile.

Copyright 2012 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.